[R-G] Poets Against War - update
james m nordlund
realiteee1 at yahoo.com
Fri Oct 7 18:06:29 MDT 2005
Dear Fellow Poets Against War:
The latest edition of the Newsletter is now posted at
I hope you will support our efforts on behalf of the poets and people of
Central and South America by signing Esteban Moore's petition and by doing
everything possible to make Nov 5 an international day of poetry and
The United States has exploited and terrorized and manipulated the people
of Central and South America for over a hundred years. We have propped up
dictators and promulgated death squads and undermined democratic processes
time and again. It is a sad, shameful history.
Now Bush wants more U.S. Armed Forces in those countries, expanding his
hegemony, his imperial policies, once again in the name of "war on
More arms and more death squads are NOT the solution to anything. More
profits for Bush's corporate friends at the expense of poor exploited
people is not a solution to anything.
These poets and peoples are our allies as we demand peace now. They are
allies when we suggest that poetry is part of the solution when armed
forces and terror are the problem. South American Poets Against War will
various in its opinions, and if opinions south of our borders aren't
flattering to the United States, we poets are in the unique position of
being available to listen and to agree with all that violence is not the
solution to anything. We cannot change our history, but we can participate
in writing a better future for all of the Americas.
Most citizens of these United States are completely unaware of what the
Bush Administration is doing and how terrible the consequences are likely
to be. I urge you to be better informed and to help enlighten those who
believe as we do that nonviolence is the only meaningful alternative.
We must stand as allies, united in our convictions that poetry can be, as
Esteban Moore and his friends have written, a vital part of creating a
democratic and nonviolent future for us all.
Whether through public readings and protests or through simply gathering
with a few friends on November 5 to consider this plight and its possible
consequences, the poets of the world can begin to speak as one unified
voice against imperial policies.
Please take time to enter readings and public appearances scheduled for
5th at <poetsagainstwar.net> and ask friends in other countries to please
stand with us on this occasion. Get out press releases to local media.
Remember, Iraq is only the symptom; the disorder is greed and power. Think
how gratifying it would be to have the petition in Arabic, Hebrew,
Japanese, French... poets everywhere watching and listening as Bush puts
forth his evil proposal on that dark date.
* * *
I have been talking at length with poets in countries like Jordan,
Iran, Iraq, Honduras, Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, etc., helping them find
ways to open their own Poets Against War anthologies and web sites, and I
will continue to ask for reports and translations of sample poems from
foreign PAW groups to present bi-lingually to our readership. We all have
much to gain from this cooperation.
* * *
I'm pleased to announce that Martín Espada and William O'Daly have joined
the Poets Against War Board of Directors. Look for O'Daly's essay on
and torture in the next issue of the Newsletter. Both have already made
substantial contributions to our vision and conduct.
* * *
In early November (including November 5), I will be joining poets against
war at the Wellington, New Zealand Poetry Festival. Everywhere, it seems,
we find we have allies and more problems to explore and fresh ways to work
I recently returned from joining in the celebration of the thirtieth
anniversary of Curbstone Press. Its co-directors, Alexander Taylor and
Judith Doyle, have been doing our work for all of those years and a good
many more. They have been a beacon to many young writers and to the
of Central and South America (Roberto Sosa, Claribel Alegría and many
others), as well as serving remarkable poets like Martín Espada, Doug
Anderson, and Luis Rodriguez. Indeed, Sandy and Judy are the very
embodiment of what we mean by "engaged" poetry and poetics.
I close this Newsletter announcement with a poem by Mahmoud Darwish,
translated by Omnia Amin and Rick London. I think the poet speaks
eloquently for us all.
* * *
Right here and now
Right here and now, drop the grave
from your shoulders and give your life
another chance to repair its story.
Not all love is death, the whole
of Earth isnt chronic estrangement,
maybe for a moment youll forget
that old sting of honey and, unguarded,
love a girl who doesnt love you.
Or maybe she does. In this moment
you dont know why she loves you
As you lean into the rise of the stairs
you feel alien in a duet.
Step out of yourself and into another,
away from your visions,
constructing a bridge in the air -
until youre nowhere.
Mosquitoes near the railway itching
your back might remind you of life.
Take this life on so it can bind you
to life, let the memory of the feminine subside
and right here, right now,
drop the grave from your shoulders
Sam Hamill & the PAW Board
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